Giornata Italiana della Bioenergia
Bioenergy is Europe's leading renewable energy source. According to Eurostat data and calculations made by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM), bioenergy will be able to supply 11% of the final energy consumption in 2017. An additional 7% comes from the other renewables, while the rest (82%) still comes from fossil fuels. Within this context, for 66 days the EU can run on renewable energies, 41 days of which are supplied by bioenergy—from November 21 to the end of the year.
For Italy, its Bioenergy Day occurs on November 20, one day ahead of the European average something that Associazione Italiana Energie Agroforestali (AIEL), a members association that represents about 500 companies in the wood-energy chain is highlighting.
Italy has shown great commitment to the development of renewable energy sources at a pace higher than the European average and we must remember that in our country the production of thermal energy from solid biomass accounts for more than one-third of all renewables. Without this share, Italy would not reach three years in advance the target set by the EU by 17 percent by 2020, said Domenico Brugnoni, President of AIEL.
Fourth in bioheat outside district heating
Figures from AEBIOM’s Statistical Report 2017 prove Brugnoni’s point and show that Italy holds the fourth position (9% or 7.78 ktoe) in bioheat consumption in the European Union (EU) 2015 outside of district heating; after Germany (15%), France (12%) and Sweden (10%) respectively but ahead of Finland (8%).
This may come as a surprise, however, a significant share of this bioheat is residential space heating using wood pellets, firewood and, not to be forgotten, heat from biogas to power installations, a by-product of the feed-in tariff (FIT) for electricity – according to the EU funded “Increasing Social Awareness and Acceptance of biogas and biomethane” (ISAC) project, there are 1 555 operating biogas plants in Italy with a total installed capacity of almost 1.7 GWe and an average plant capacity of 752 kWe for each plant.
Italy is the largest residential wood pellet market in the EU. According to AEBIOM’s report, of a total of 3.1 million tonnes consumed in Italy 2015, 92 percent was for residential heating. The country accounts for around two-thirds of the EU pellet stoves market – a visit to the biennial Progetto Fucco tradeshow in Verona visualises both the diversity of fuelwood and pellet stoves and fireplaces available and the gives a hint of the Italian market size.
However, there is room for improvement. According to AIEL, the Italian bioenergy sector has the potential to push its Bioenergy Day into October by the 2030’s, mainly through developing the woody biomass sector by increasing forest uses according to sustainable management criteria. By doing so it could increase the annual harvest of Italian forests that currently stands at 24 percent of annual increment compared to an EU average of 62 percent.
About European Bioenergy Day
The European Bioenergy Day campaign is powered by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM) and relayed across Europe by both national and international partners supporting the belief that bioenergy is more than a renewable energy source, but a reliable path that will lead Europe to achieve its renewable energy transition in the shortest span of time.
The campaign will last 66 days, starting from November 21 through the end of the year. This is a symbolic date on which the European Bioenergy Day will be celebrated by organizing the European Bioenergy Future Conference, to be held in Brussels on that date.